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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Ukrainian hockey coach was found dead of a suspected suicide while in custody in Philadelphia on child-molestation charges, a U.S. prison official said.
Ivan Pravilov, 48, was found unresponsive in his cell at 3 a.m. Friday, said spokesman Darrin Howard of the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia.
A preliminary FBI investigation suggested the death was a suicide, Howard said. An autopsy is pending.
Pravilov was a mentor to several NHL and U.S. college players, including Dainius Zubrus of the New Jersey Devils, who played for him as a teen in the Ukraine.
Pravilov ran an elite hockey school there from the 1980s until about 2007, when he came to the U.S. to run camps for standout players from the U.S. and abroad. Players from the Ukraine and elsewhere typically enrolled for about a month, staying with host families and traveling with Pravilov to various U.S. cities for tournaments and clinics.
On Jan. 3, he allegedly brought two 14-year-old Ukrainian boys to his Philadelphia apartment from a family home in Wilmington, Del., and fondled one of them during the night. The other boy was later threatened in a locker room, authorities alleged. A host parent contacted police.
Pravilov had been in custody since Homeland Security agents arrested him last month. He was later indicted on charges he took the teen across state lines for sexual purposes.
Pravilov had pleaded not guilty to the charges. He had appeared quite animated in several court appearances, speaking to his lawyer through a translator, and telling the judge he had been unable to call his lawyer to work on his case from the prison.
His defense lawyer did not immediately return messages seeking comment Friday. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia, which was prosecuting Pravilov, declined to comment.
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